today, while I am fully conscious,
totally lucid and completely free,
I offer You my life with all its mystery and suffering.
Indeed, Eternal Father,
I offer You my life as an ultimate act of love,
as an act of infinite gratitude,
as an act of faith in Your mercy.
My God and Father,
accept this prayer I am making to You now
for the day when You will call me back to You.
If I am unconscious at the final moment of my life,
if anguish and doubt assail me,
if medication prevents me from thinking of You,
I want my last heartbeat to be an act of perfect love,
telling You with Jesus,
“Into Your hands, I commend my spirit.”
Thought for the Day – 17 November – The Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)
“Elizabeth was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castles should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband’s empire. She spent all her own revenue from her husband’s four principalities and finally she sold her luxurious possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.
Twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, Elizabeth went to visit the sick. She personally cared for those who were particularly repulsive; to some she gave good, to others clothing; some she carried on her own shoulders and performed many other kindly services. Her husband, of happy memory, gladly approved of these charitable works. Finally, when her husband died, she sought the highest perfection; filled with tears, she implored me to let her beg for alms from door to door.
On Good Friday of that year, when the altars had been stripped, she laid her hands on the altar in a chapel in her own town, where she had established the Friars Minor and before witnesses she voluntarily renounced all worldly display and everything that our Saviour in the gospel advises us to abandon. Even then she saw that she could still be distracted by the cares and worldly glory which had surrounded her while her husband was alive. Against my will she followed me to Marburg. Here in the town she built a hospice where she gathered together the weak and the feeble. There she attended the most wretched and contemptible at her own table.
Apart from those active good works, I declare before God that I have seldom seen a more contemplative woman.
Before her death I heard her confession. When I asked what should be done about her goods and possessions, she replied that anything which seemed to be hers belonged to the poor. She asked me to distribute everything except one worn-out dress in which she wished to be buried. When all this had been decided, she received the body of our Lord. Afterward, until vespers, she spoke often of the holiest things she had heard in sermons. Then, she devoutly commended to God all who were sitting near her and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died.” – from a letter by Fr Conrad of Marburg, spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Elizabeth understood well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper: the Christian must be one who serves the humblest needs of others, even if one serves from an exalted position. In her short life, Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe. Of royal blood, Elizabeth could have lorded it over her subjects. Yet she served them with such a loving heart that her brief life won for her a special place in the hearts of many. Elizabeth is also an example to us in her following the guidance of a spiritual director. Growth in the spiritual life is a difficult process. We can play games very easily if we don’t have someone to challenge us.
One Minute Reflection – 17 November – The Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)
Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world but let your minds be remade and your whole nature thus transformed…Romans 12:2
REFLECTION – “Extend your mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His Mercy from us?”…–St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
PRAYER – Lord God, as You have taught Your Church that all the commandments are summed up in the love of You and of our neighbour, grant that as we follow St Elizabeth of Hungary in doing works of charity, we may be numbered among the blessed in Your Kingdom. May the prayers of St Elizabeth help us to give constant love and service to the afflicted and the needy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity. Amen
Thought for the Day – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)
John was a Franciscan friar and priest, but not of the good-natured variety of Franciscans that holds the popular imagination. To describe John as zealous would be an understatement. He walked the fine line between zeal and fanaticism, allowing God to write straight with the crooked lines he drew throughout his life. Some might wonder why such a man is even a saint but he is, and the lesson in that might be that being a saint is about more than just being nice and friendly. Sanctity is an uncanny quality that can be as off-putting as it is attractive.
We might be “put off” by a saint like John Capistrano. Perhaps the lesson there is that if he made it, there is hope for us all.
John Hofer, a biographer of John Capistrano, recalls a Brussels organization named after the saint. Seeking to solve life problems in a fully Christian spirit, its motto was: “Initiative, Organisation, Activity.” These three words characterised John’s life. He was not one to sit around. His deep Christian optimism drove him to battle problems at all levels with the confidence engendered by a deep faith in Christ.
We are not Christians because we build and maintain institutions. We are Christians because people experience in us an invitation to know Jesus Christ and find in His Church the reality of His divine life and presence.
Quote of the Day – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)
“Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness that comes from the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life. They must learn from the eminent teacher, Jesus Christ. . “You are the light of the world” (see Matthew 5:14). Now a light does not illumine itself but instead it diffuses its rays and shines all around upon everything that comes into its view..“
One Minute Reflection – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)
You are the salt of the earth.……Matthew 5:13
REFLECTION – Remove from your lives the filth and uncleanness of vice.
Your upright lives must make you the salt of the earth for yourselves
and for the rest of humankind…….St John of Capistrano
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, enable me both to practice and to preach Your Message to all those I meet. Grant that – in accord with Your Son’s mandate – I may be the salt of the earth. St John of Capistrano, you lived a zealous life endlessly becoming “salt” to all.
Please pray for us that we may grow in zeal to glorify the Kingdom by our lives! Amen